Can a rental agency keep increasing the final amount of the item that we are renting from them?

We are purchasing a washer and dryer from a rent-to-own store. When we first started the service the fee for both items was $500. Now, however, the price is $675. We have been making monthly payments on these items but the price for buy out keeps going up. Is this legal for them to do?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under General Practice, Washington

Answers:

Kenneth Berger / Kenneth A. Berger, Attorney at Law

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Possibly, it depends on the contract that you signed and the circumstances around the signing.

Sometimes, a rental contract has a formula to calculate the buyout based on the duration of the rental.  The strange thing is that when this is the case, the buy out rate usual goes down, not up, over time.

Other times the circumstances surrounding your signing of the rental agreement can make the enforcement of the agreement "unconscionable" to the court. 

You may also want to consider a small claims court for a solution because of the relatively small amount of money involved.

As always, my comments are only applicable to Washington State and are not a substitute for getting competent, local, and more comprehensive, legal help.

 


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